With over 1000 posts I have been a fairly prolific user of corolland. however this post shall be one of my last.
Lets face it. My '05 was an impulse buy, I bought it without really seriously considering other models, and I bought it when I did not know how to drive a manual. Whilst it was reliable, cheap to run and ultra practical, there was a growing awareness of a lack of passion, emotion and general excitement. As a car enthusiast, these latter qualities are actually quite important.
One of my new years resolutions was to make an actual effort to realise various lifelong desires. One of these was to have a genuinely sporting car that can rekindle my excitement in cars and driving again - well, as sporting as my budget will allow! So, this morning I did a fairly good deal on a 2008 plated Mazda3. I got the base model 'neo sport' 2 litre sedan as a manual, finished in silver. Standard equipment includes power windows & mirrors, cd player, ABS+EBD, 2 airbags, alloys. I negotiated cruise control and steering wheel audio controls in, for it was on the lot.
Why not a manual corolla? For the price the 3 was better equipped in terms of big ticket items (alloys, metallic paint, rear power windows) and the 3 was found to be a better drive, and, well, after sending my entire driving career at the wheel of a corolla or a derivative it was time for a change of brand.
So thanks for the tips, guys and gals, and thanks for the stories, support, debates and info over the years.